Wednesday, October 5, 2011
"Sleeping Is No Mean Art: For Its Sake One Must Stay Awake All Day" - Friedrich Nietzsche
“This is a day to wear your most comfortable shoes, to be a bit self-indulgent, and to generally go easier on yourself. You’ve been running full-tilt for too long now, Moonchild, and the wear and tear on your psyche and your physical self is starting to show. Surely you have noticed that you are feeling a bit tired, haven’t you? If you keep up your current pace for much longer you will find yourself to be less productive, less happy and infinitely grumpier. Take a break today. You deserve it.”
I’ve always read my horoscope. I wouldn’t necessarily say I live by them or make life decisions based on what they say, but I definitely enjoy reading them and comparing their words to what’s going on in my day to day life. The current horoscope app on my phone has been the most accurate and entertaining so far. I even have Tim hooked. He sent me a text message this morning to make sure I read mine for today, which was this one.
I slept for thirteen hours yesterday. I woke up at 4:34pm, 34 minutes after I was supposed to be at work. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my phone and panicked as I saw two missed calls, three missed text messages and two voicemails. Shit.
I called work in a panic and they said they still needed me and to get there as soon as I could. I threw on my work clothes, put my hair in a sloppy ponytail, slapped some powder on to at least attempt to cover the dark circles under my eyes (this time from too MUCH sleep) and ran out the door. I called Tim on my way to work to apologize for making him worry as I didn’t respond to any of his texts or calls and told him I was rushing to work. He lovingly told me not to worry and to drive safely. The voice of reason I desperately needed as I played out all the possible upcoming scenarios in my head of what I would face when I got to work.
I was lucky enough to hit no traffic and found a spot on a lower level of the parking structure. I quickly tied my apron, grabbed my purse and ran into work. I threw my belongings in my locker and made it to line-up just in time. Patrick, the manager on duty and the one who had called when I was late, asked me if I was okay. I smiled, said yes and... that was it. He clocked me in, assigned me a station and that was that.
I almost felt like I needed to remind him that I was an hour and a half late.
My shift went smoothly (as they all have been going lately), I made the sometimes elusive “bill” we all seek as servers and afterwards, checked in with my General Manager before I left. He asked me to sit down in the office. I waited for a speech on how important it was to be on time, work ethics, all that jazz... instead, he simply asked how everything was going for me. How was my experience so far? Was my schedule okay? Is the money working out? Is the company meeting my expectations?
I told him things were fine and that I was still getting used to the environment. I told him how bad I felt about what had happened and he asked me what I was talking about.
“Um... I slept for thirteen hours and was an hour and a half late for my shift today.”
“Well I’m sure that’s not normal behavior for you. Besides, if that’s the worst thing that happened during your shift today, I would say you are in pretty good shape.”
I am Jack’s puzzled face.
We talked a little bit more about what I meant as far as “getting used to the environment” and I just explained that I come from two restaurants with a much smaller crew and more of a “family and friends” type of feeling. He immediately wanted to know the names of those who were making me feel uncomfortable. I gave a bit of an uneasy laugh as I told him I would not be doing that. An environment does not get better by throwing the people who already don’t want anything to do with you under the bus for “not being nice”. I successfully made it through grade school without getting beat up for following this same procedure.
Luckily, he let it go and I was free to clock out and enjoy my upcoming two days off. It was a strange meeting... but I suppose I appreciate his effort.
The job isn’t bad, as it turns out. I mean, it’s not really that hard, even when it’s busy, because the structure is pretty consistent. And even though I’m not used to tipping out as much as I have to now, it’s a lot easier to make money than with the other two serving jobs I had. Longer hours, for sure... but a lot less hustle. And my actual paychecks with my hourly wage are surprisingly high.
As I left work last night, I couldn’t help but think about how long I had slept uninterrupted. I had felt pretty tired the night before but thirteen hours? Even as someone who REALLY enjoys my sleep I find that excessive. I still can’t believe my typically annoying cat didn’t cry outside my door to wake me up as she usually doesn’t if I haven’t fed her by 10am.
So, why was I so exhausted? Because I’m back to a 35-40 hour work week? Have I really allowed myself to be that lazy? I’m tougher than that, right? It’s not like I have a ton of stuff going on right now, right? Right?
Oh yeah... that.
Tim moved in. He met with his landlord on October 1st to collect his deposit and gather the rest of his belongings. I cleared space in my closet for his clothes and am still trying to find a place for his mini-fridge and end table as the living room can only provide a temporary home for such things.
We made the decision last month. However, it wasn’t until the last week or so that it became real to me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it, especially given the rocky terrain we’ve been hiking since we met and the fact my last few runs with co-habitation haven’t worked out very well. Then again, I have also made a commitment not to compare this relationship with my past ones. The last thing I want to do is prepare for things NOT to work.
The thing about moving in with someone is that I think it’s important to address the real-life issues that come along with it. Of course it’s fun to think about spending every night together and waking up each morning in each other’s arms. I love the idea of having him to share my space with and cook with and watch our favorite shows or sports with. The bonus of a lower rent and shared expenses is always nice and he splurged on cable and internet for the apartment which adds a nice element to our home life. All of these things are wonderful and not to be taken lightly.
But real-life stuff is important too.
When we first started dating, I glanced at Tim’s I.D. while getting carded at a bar we were at and noticed that is was not a driver’s license. It was simply an identification card. When I asked him about it, he told me that he had some trouble in the past with some tickets, not showing up to court, etc. and now he has to take care of a big fine with the court in order to get his license back. I asked him how much and he said he didn’t know. He was overwhelmed by how much it possibly could be and hadn’t had the energy to deal with it. At the time, I let it go... I mean, we had just started dating and nothing makes a new girlfriend more unattractive than a good, old-fashioned nagging.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t even bring it up after having only dated for five months either. I like to stay attractive as long as I possibly can... but suddenly, we were discussing living in the same house. That changed things for me. Moving in together is the biggest “we” thing we’ve done so far. And that means that his problems are my problems and vice versa. To me, moving in is the same thing as saying “hey, I’d like to marry you someday, so let’s start here and see how playing house works out for us”. His debt becomes my debt. Not in the actual monetary sense, but in the emotional sense. The heaviness he carries from having this burden on his shoulders becomes my burden as well. Welcome to “we”.
I asked him to please call the courthouse to find out how much he owed. That was it. I didn’t ask him to take care of it or that it needed to be paid off before he moved in or anything like that. I just wanted him to know. I knew it was going to be a lot for him to handle but it was important to me.
A few weeks went by and October 1st began to creep up. We hadn’t talked about it again and I was starting to wonder if he took my concern seriously. Finally, I let it sit inside me for too long and we got into it a little bit one night. I told him that it hurt my feelings that he didn’t take any initiative to fulfill my request and reiterated how important it was to me. We had talked before about my bankruptcy last year and how it was humiliating and destructive towards my ego but that after dealing with it for almost two years, the end result left me feeling free and like I had a second chance. I just wanted the same for him.
He said he had called the court but was kept on hold for so long that he gave up for the night. He promised me that he would make time on his next day off to sit on hold for as long as it took to find out exactly what he needed to do.
His next day off came and he was up early. I heard him on the phone. He finished his conversation and came into the bedroom. I looked up at him and smiled. He said he had cable all set up and that they would be there the following week to get everything installed.
“Great,” I said.
He got back on the phone. This time it was to the DMV. His I.D. had expired on his birthday and he hadn’t received his new one in the mail yet and was started to get worried. The woman he talked to explained that he hadn’t done a change of address with the Post Office (he had renewed his I.D. with my address) and so they sent it back. He was going to have to go down to the DMV and renew again. Frustrated, he hung up the phone, did a change of address online, grabbed his keys and headed back to the DMV to get everything handled.
He was gone less than two hours. When he returned, I was on the couch, reading my latest Sports Illustrated magazine. He sat down next to me. I look at him and again, I smiled. And waited. After a few minutes, he asked if it would bother me if he played his guitar. I said no... and then I decided it was time to get unattractive.
“Hey... were you still going to call the court? I figured, since you were on a roll and all...”
Yes. Great idea. That was the plan all along, right?
He went in the bedroom and sat on hold for close to an hour. Finally, he spoke to an actual human being who gave him all the information he needed - how much he owed and the process he needed to go through in order to start getting it all handled. As suspected, he was overwhelmed and unnerved by the amount due. His energy was pretty low the rest of the day.
Mine, however, was not. What a dick, right? I know it sounds strange, but speaking from experience, I just think it’s so empowering when we face our shit head on and - as my hairdresser says - walk it out. Of course it sucks. I mean, we have to deal with our past and the irresponsible choices that we made. Running up $30,000 in credit and then defaulting on it is not something that makes me proud. Throwing up my hands and filing bankruptcy doesn’t either. But tearing up every credit card offer that comes in the mail and saying no to the cashier at Victoria’s Secret every time she offers me a new fabulous credit line does make me feel good. It feels good to know that I’ve learned something and that I do make more responsible choices.
Mistakes are just that. Whether it’s not showing up for court or coming into work an hour and a half after your scheduled shift at a brand new job, it’s still just a mistake. And as humans, I think we tend to be harder on ourselves than necessary. On Friday, I’ll be fifteen minutes early again, just like always. And when Tim gets his new Driver’s License in the mail, he won’t blow off court if he ever has to go again.
Things are always worse than they seem. The dollar amount that Tim knows he owes is looming over his head just like the punishment I thought I was going to get as I raced to work yesterday did. But just like he told me over the phone as I trucked down Spring Mountain Avenue - you can’t worry about something that hasn’t happened yet. Just get where you are going as safely as you can and see how things work out.
And this is my advice back to you, Tim... I admire you for all you have been doing to clean up your life. The people you have encountered at the DMV, with the court or some ignorant dentist that doesn’t know how far you’ve come... don’t let them tell you the kind of person that you are. Our parents do the best they can with what they know... and they still manage to fuck us up, don’t they? But you are your own man with a heart of gold and a brain that a scarecrow would kill for. I am by your side as we “walk it out” together. I am excited to share my life, my home and my future with you. Whatever you need, I am here for you. I promise.
You might just have to wake me up first.
Posted by Tina V at 4:04 PM